Families in New Zealand

Travelling in New Zealand with kids


What does responsible travel recommend?

Although several of the more extreme sports to try in New Zealand will require a minimum age limit of at least ten or eleven years old, it's safe to say that the rest of the country is totally family-friendly with no end of lakes and beaches from where to get outdoors against some stunning mountain scenery. National parks are extremely accessible for young explorers with waterfalls and natural hot springs adding to the excitement of spotting whales or dolphins offshore. Spluttering geysers and mud pools, plenty of well-facilitated parking spots and loads of chances to go kayaking, learn about Maori culture and tackle high ropes and adventure parks; what are you waiting for?

ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES IN NEW ZEALAND


What to do with little ones

Enjoy the night sky


The Dark Sky Reserve on South Island is rated as one of the best on the planet with the base of Mount Cook and the summit of Mount John, just south of Tekapo, about as free from light pollution as you can hope to imagine. Awesome astronomy for mini Patrick Moores and Maggie Aderin-Pococks.

Spend a day at the beach


Ninety Mile Beach on the northwest coast of North Island is a must for families looking to sand surf or see what’s been left at low tide although please take care not to disturb bird nesting sites and sand dune vegetation. If it gets too hot, search for wild horses amongst Te Aupouri pine forest.

Dig for gold or a hot tub


Find out more about New Zealand’s gold mining past on the Coromandel Peninsula where there’s a heritage railway and interactive discovery centre in Waihi or, alternatively, dig in the sand and make your own natural hot tub on Hot Water Beach, just along the coast from Whitianga.
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TRAVELLING IN NEW ZEALAND WITH KIDS


responsible travel asks the experts

Caroline Stafford from our New Zealand supplier Silver Fern Holidays gives her family-friendly top tips:
“Consider combining a small group tour and a tailor made itinerary. For example, you could join a small group for the first part of your trip, allowing you to enjoy settling in without any worries about finding your way around or what to do. Then, pick up a rental car and explore independently for the rest of your holiday. Also, mix up your transport so kids don’t get bored sitting in a car the whole time – trains, bikes and even horseback are popular options.”

“Don’t skip museums because you have children with you. Many of New Zealand’s museums have excellent interactive exhibits and displays for children; Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum in Wellington is a good example, with its ‘quake house’ and lots of educational but also fun activities for children. The Waitangi Museum in the Bay of Island has had extensive development too, and again, has lots of interactive and educational exhibits and displays.”
Photo credits: [kayaking: Flying Kiwi Tours] [Dark Sky Reserve : catnthehat] [beach: Gadfium] [hot water beach: David Schmitz]

Written by: Chris Owen
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